It being time for "Cripple Fight 2008," as the esteemed MGoBlog is calling Michigan - Notre Dame, I felt I needed to do some sort of commentary on the Michigan Wolverines.
I haven't written much here about my favorite college football team this season, as most of my gnashing of teeth and wailing in despair has taken place in my Twitter feed instead. My grief and anger over the Wolverines' struggles has been spewed out in short, barely lucid, highly emotional, 140 character bursts.
Rather than try to break down today's game, as it would be an exercise in utter futility considering how badly both teams have played this year (they both looked lousy in their wins, for chrissakes), I thought I'd break out the old TWFE standby, pros and cons, in regard to Joe Tiller's favorite snake oil salesman, Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez. (After 40 years of
So let's look at the pluses and minuses of the man known as RichRod (DickRod to the Sparty faithful), the wunderkind given the reins of one of the most storied, successful and frustrating to watch football programs in college history.
Pro: Tired of 8-9 win seasons, RichRod was hired to move the staid and ultra-conservative Wolverine football program, kicking and screaming if need be, into the 21st century with his state-of-the-art spread option offense.
Con: Nebraska thought they needed to join the 21st century as well, and hired Bill Callahan to shake up a similarly stuck in the past program with his NFL style west coast offense. Instead of joining a new century, Nebraska joined the also rans at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. Cornhusker fans would now give up their first born and left nut to have a 8-9 win season.
Pro: West Virgina's former favorite son is the highly acclaimed guru of the "hot" offense of the day, the spread option.
Con: Hot offense? So were the run and shoot, the west coast, the wishbone, the veer, the triple option and the wing T at one time. Coaches gradually learned how to defend those fancy offenses. Those offenses, and the coaches who ran them, aren't "hot" anymore.
Pro: RichRod has claimed he can adapt the spread option to any sort of situation. He can make it either run or pass heavy, depending upon the type of personnel on hand.
Con: I'm still waiting to see ANY kind of offense from Michigan after 2 games. Run, pass, I don't care. I just want to some touchdowns, you SOB!
Pro: RichRod's protoype spread QB is Pat White, who wasn't a highly ranked recruit out of high school. Meaning he can make the spread work without top tier recruits.
Con: Highly recruited or not, White could run and pass with equal effectiveness. As we've painfully seen, Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan aren't Pat White.Hell, they aren't Danny, Whizzer or even Barry White, for that matter. Threet and Sheridan have shown they are equally bad at both running and passing.
Pro: As an assistant and head coach, won big at schools (Tulane, WVU) where it was tough to recruit, often having to make do by taking in known troublemakers in order to compete at the highest level.
Con: Michigan ain't West Virginny. Recruiting the ilk of Pac Man Jones won't fly at the Harvard of the West. Recruiting risky kids will royally piss off the uber-conservative, wine and cheese eating, extremely wealthy, elitist old Blues, whose idea of a big time troublemaker is anyone of color, under 25, with a tattoo. Actually, you only need to meet one of those three criteria to be on the old Blues' shit list.
Pro: Recruiting shouldn't be an issue for RichRod, as Michigan recruits itself.
Con: If Michigan recruits itself, going by this year's Wolverines team, you'd never know it.
Pro: RichRod has a long track record of winning and winning big.
Con: Remember WVU - Pitt last season? RichRod wins plenty, but has never been able to finish, to win the "big one." Wait a sec...What was I thinking? That would mean the snake oil salesman fits right in at Michigan! Never mind.
Pro: The last coach to take over the program who wasn't a "Michigan Man" was that God amongst men, Bo Schembechler.
Con: Bo didn't infuriate an entire state when he left Miami of Ohio to coach the Wolverines, just Woody Hayes.
Pro: Bo's first team got off to a slow start too. They started the 1969 season 3-2, losing decisively to both Missouri and Sparty. We all know how that season ended...With Woody more pissed than ever.
Con: Bo's '69 team had a decent QB, and a talented O-line. RichRod...Not so much.
Pro: This is Michigan we're talking about, who haven't been under .500 in most of our lifetimes. If you are a Wolverines fan under 50 years old, winning seasons and going to bowl games are a given, if not a birth right.
Con: Uh, I don't want to go there. Seriously, I don't wanna. This world we live in is screwed up enough without having to deal with the unthinkable...A bad Michigan team that doesn't go to a bowl game. Holy shit, I got the shivvers typing that...
As for Cripple Fight 2008? I'll say it ends Michigan 17, NBC's corporate puppet, 13, fans of quality football, disgusted.
But I sure as Hell wouldn't bet on the Cripple Fight. God, no! I still have a smidgen of common sense. I wouldn't bet on this game if life, limb and Charlie Weis' next dinner depended on it.
Uh...not so fast. Now that I think about it, I might take the under. Neither team has an offense that could score on a Pop Warner team. The under should be the LOCK of the century.